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U.S. Futures Mixed; Jobless Claims, Retail Sector in Focus

Stock MarketsJan 06, 2022 20:18
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© Reuters

By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening in muted fashion Thursday, stabilizing after the previous session’s sharp selloff as investors digest the Federal Reserve’s increasingly hawkish stance.

At 7 AM ET (1200 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 100 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 Futures traded 2 points, or 0.1%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 60 points, or 0.4%.

The major indices on Wall Street closed steeply lower Wednesday after the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting signalled the possibility of faster-than-expected U.S. rate hikes and stimulus withdrawal. 

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped almost 400 points, or 1.1%, after earlier hitting an intraday record high, while the broad-based S&P 500 fell 1.9%. The Nasdaq Composite, an index which includes a lot of growth-sensitive stocks, suffered the most, falling 3.3%, its biggest one-day loss since February.

“So now, the Fed wants to end QE early, wants to raise rates sooner, and reduce the balance sheet,” said Michael Kramer, the founder of Mott Capital Management, “The market cannot be ok with this, nor should it be. Valuations across the market are too high to support this much monetary tightening.”

The Fed policymakers pointed to a "very tight" job market as a key factor pushing them towards lifting rates sooner than previously guided. ADP private payrolls soared last month, and attention now turns to weekly jobless claims data due later Thursday, ahead of Friday’s key nonfarm payrolls report.

In corporate news, the retail sector is likely to be in focus after Reuters reported that foot traffic grew at Target (NYSE:TGT) during the recent holiday season compared with two years earlier, while visits to both Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) stores fell overall.

Additionally, there will be quarterly earnings reports from Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) and Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) before the bell Thursday.

Oil prices strengthened Thursday, helped by escalating unrest in oil producer Kazakhstan and supply outages in Libya.

Russia sent paratroopers into Kazakhstan on Thursday to quell a countrywide uprising. Although there are no indications that oil production has been affected so far, the former Soviet state is currently producing 1.6 million barrels of oil per day.

Additionally, oil output is down by over 500,000 barrels per day in Libya due to pipeline maintenance and oilfield shutdowns.

Crude prices had weakened on Wednesday after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed gasoline inventories surged more than 10 million barrels, the biggest weekly build since April 2020, suggesting the U.S. public is becoming reluctant to travel as Covid cases surge.

By 7 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.2% higher at $78.75 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.1% to $81.72. Both contracts have climbed to their highest levels since late November.

Additionally, gold futures fell 1.5% to $1,797.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded marginally lower at 1.1308.

 

U.S. Futures Mixed; Jobless Claims, Retail Sector in Focus
 

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